Macomb’s Been Reading Since 1865
By Nick Lico
Founded in 1865, at the same time as the Detroit Public Library, The Mount Clemens Public Library is the oldest Library in Macomb County. Historical records indicate that the superintendent of the Mount Clemens School District founded the library in a third-floor room of the school house. Eventually it moved out of the school house and bounced around various locations around downtown until the library applied to the Carnegie Foundation for a grant.
“Andrew Carnegie, the steel magnate and philanthropist, founded the construction of over 2,000 library buildings across the United States. Mount Clemens was granted money to build a public library building in 1904,” Deborah Larsen, Mount Clemens Public Library assistant director said.
The building opened in early 1905 in what is now the Anton Art Center and was housed there until the 1960s. It moved into its current building on Cass Avenue in April 1969. A great deal has changed at the Mount Clemens Library and at libraries across our county since 1969.
“Those who haven’t been to a library in a while probably remember going up to a card catalog to find books. Now, patrons can check out library catalogs from a smart phone, tablet or computer. Thanks to the Suburban Library Cooperative, library patrons can also check out items from other libraries,” she said.
Today Macomb has 25 libraries that go well beyond physical books and physical boundaries. In fact, patrons don’t even need to step into a library to download eBooks, music or movies. Hundreds of free digital magazines are also available, as is tutoring assistance. The resources are intended to address the various needs of our county’s population.
“We offer different formats for different ages, including large print for the elderly or visually impaired, eBooks for those who like to read their books digitally and audio books for those who prefer listening to them,” said Rosemary Orlando, director of the St. Clair Shores Public Library.
To encourage reading during March, which is national Reading Month, the St. Clair Shores Public Library offers various programs.
“We have storyteller Judy Sima on March 3. She specializes in bringing children’s books to life,” Orlando said. “Then, on March 13, we have a special story time with stuffed animal friends.”
“Also coinciding with Reading Month, we encourage patrons to add a colored marble to a jar within the library each time they check out a book. This provides a visual representation of how many books were checked out for March,” Orlando added.
If you don’t already visit your local library on a regular basis, we encourage you to do so. Discover for yourself how much today’s library has to offer.
Photo courtesy of Mount Clemens Public Library.